Low on milk, bread, and everything we head to the local market for some groceries.
We have the juice boxes, the 15 gram snacks—and my T1d is looking over the yogurt choices when we hear the words “I love your shirts!” This is grass roots awareness—this is why we wear our shirts—that and the fact that five years in—5 years of walks, bike tours, and diabetes events have us fully stocked up on diabetes clothes- we haven’t needed to buy any other kind.
“Thanks” we reply “do you have family with diabetes?”
“No, but my friend’s- cousin’s –neighbor’s son just died from that—he was like 17” says person “Just went to sleep and didn’t wake up. His name was XYZ—did you know him?”
Lots of weird going on here. I look at Frankie—his eyes are big and his face is red—he is staring intently at the yogurt selection. I am thinking about the fact that person thinks we would know the person—like there is a big list-serve of diabetics— we all know each other-and we all get a shirt. I am thinking Frankie knows he could die from this, has had a friend die from this—he has to know—it is part of living with this disease-but to hear it from a stranger in the dairy aisle—weird.
“Ahhh, no, I don’t know them, sorry to hear of your friends passing—we will be thinking of all of them.” I say and I try to push the cart along—no awareness is going to come out of my mouth—just want to get Frankie out of here.
“ He wore a thing” says person, keeping up with my cart “that kept giving him the medicine. He had it really bad”
“All types of diabetes are the bad kind.” I say, awareness eeking out “A pump. You wear it for insulin-the medicine. My son here has Type 1—body doesn’t make insulin so he wears a pump.” I am trying to get person to get it—person doesn’t know Frankie has diabetes. I want person to stop talking.
“You look so good!” says person to Frankie “Good luck with it!”
“UMMM, yeah, thanks” says Frank
I push the cart like a bat out of hell, forget yogurt, forget the rest of the list, and head to the checkout.
“What did you think of that? I ask Frankie
“People say that a lot” He says “We should have worn our coats.”
We talk it out on the way home.
“I’m good” he says “I don’t need a life lesson.”
Awareness can be awkward.